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A suburban bus trip: San Francisco to Santa Rosa

Thanks to the 3.9 million miles of highways in the U.S., 86% of our travel is by personal car. The remaining passenger miles are covered by planes, trains and buses.

While in 2008 American public transit use reached its highest level in 52 years, bus service didn’t experience the same boost (unless you look at cities with exceptional increases like Phoenix (11.5%); San Antonio (10.2%); San Diego (10.0%); St. Louis (8.9%); Baltimore (8.7%); and Denver (8.6%)).

In San Francisco, 270,000 people ride the bus every day, making it one of the top ten U.S. cities for bus ridership (though well below New York’s 2.3 million). But outside the city in the greater Bay Area, cars are king and buses are less well-known territory.

In this video, we did a bit of investigative research into just how hard it is to take a bus from San Francisco into one outer suburb. The Internet research wasn’t tough (go to 511.org to plan any Bay Area trip via public transit), but finding the bus stop proved a bit more complicated.